Poll: Americans feel blessed at holidays — and a bit stressed
MINNEAPOLIS — Wade Holcomb has a lot to be grateful for this year. In addition to graduating college and getting a job, he also has a beautiful 4month-old girl — who will be celebrating her first Christmas with her dad clearly wrapped around her tiny fingers.
“It’s different, having a baby. It’s something to be really grateful for and she just makes me the happiest person in the world,” said Holcomb, 22, of Swainsboro, Georgia. “She’s literally the best thing ever.”
Holcomb is among the 7 of 10 Americans who say “grateful” describes them extremely well or very well over the holidays, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Roughly another 2 in 10 said it describes them moderately well.
While positive feelings are dominant, feelings of festivity and gratitude are accompanied by stress or sadness for many Americans. About 3 in 10 say “stressed” describes them extremely well or very well in December, and about another 4 in 10 say it describes them moderately well.
About 2 in 10 say they feel very lonely or sad during the holidays, with about another 2 in 10 saying they feel moderately lonely or sad.
For those who feel grateful, being in good health and being surrounded by loving family members are top of mind. While Holcomb is thankful for the new life in his family, 76-year-old Steve Tutunjian of San Diego is grateful to be alive at all.
Tutunjian has been hospitalized three times in recent months for breathing issues, including a recent emergency trip to intensive care. That’s where he was when he responded to the AP-NORC poll.
“For some godly reason, I am still here,” he said. “Just recognizing you are alive, healthy and on the mend as I am — you can’t help but be grateful.”
Tutunjian also described himself as moderately stressed — because he’s fallen behind in holiday planning — and sad. Like others who spoke to the AP, he’s missing a loved one around the holidays. Tutunjian, a retired naval commander, lost a son in 2009 to a combination of a prescription overdose and a bad reaction to multiple medications after outpatient eye surgery.
“You never forget that loss and emptiness in your heart, particularly during those times you previously celebrated with your loved ones. So it adds some sadness to it,” he said of his son, who was also in the Navy. “On the other side, we reflect on the many good times we’ve had together. It doesn’t destroy the holiday spirit for us. It brings it home.”
The poll also found that about 6 in 10 Americans say they have family traditions they are looking forward to this year, while just about 1 in 10 say they have some they are dreading.
Melvin Ramsaran, 35, of Brooklyn, said there is one family tradition he dreads every year — that postdinner period when everyone is overstuffed, tired and has to sit around and listen to excruciatingly long family speeches.
So this year, he said, he’s going to stay home on his couch.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,053 adults was conducted Dec. 5-9. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
WASHINGTON — An illness resistant to multiple drugs that’s hit 13 states and led to four hospitalizations is probably spread by the cutest of culprits, health officials say.
The evidence points to puppies.
Thirty people have reported infections as of last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the outbreak seems to stem mostly from dogs purchased at pet shops. About 70% of those sickened reported contact with a pet store puppy.
No single supplier has been connected to cases of the illness, which often involves bloody diarrhea and can be transmitted through animal feces.
But investigations link 12 people affected to Petland, a national chain implicated in a previous spate of puppy-related illness involving the same kind of bacteria, Campylobacter. Five of those 12 people were Petland employees, the CDC said.
Ohio-based Petland, which lists about 80 locations across the country, said in a statement that it has worked since the last outbreak to put in place all recommendations from federal and state animal and public health officials.
Those protocols, the company said, include mandatory sanitary training for all employees, prominent signage and multiple sanitation stations in stores and other measures to educate staff and customers. Petland says it has also changed “animal husbandry and sanitation practices” and asked its veterinarians to use microbe-targeting substances judiciously, amid concerns about drug resistance.
“Petland takes the health and welfare of our employees, our customers and our pets very seriously,” the company said, noting that more than a third of reported cases in the new outbreak involve people in states where Petland has no stores.
Federal health officials said last year that puppies sold through Petland, which has drawn critics for its use of commercial breeders, were a likely source of the outbreak that sickened 113 people across 17 states and resulted in 23 hospitalizations.
The United States sees about 1.5 million Campylobacter cases every year. The illness often comes from eating raw or undercooked poultry or something it made contact with — but it can also spread through a range of other foods, untreated water and animals, the CDC states.
Infection symptoms for humans, beyond diarrhea, include fever and stomach cramps two to five days after exposure, according to the CDC, which says most people recover in a week without antibiotics. But people who fall very ill or have seriously weakened immune systems may need those drugs, it says.
Analysis shows that the latest puppy-linked infections involve genetically related bacteria, suggesting a common source of infection, the CDC said. It’s also genetically related to the multi-drug resistant bacteria of the old outbreak, which began in 2016 and lasted into 2018.
The newer illnesses ran from Jan. 6 to Nov. 10 of this year, the CDC says. Those sickened are as young as eight months and as old as 70 years, with a median age of 34.
The CDC is not aware of any deaths, though it notes that some illnesses may not be reported yet.
Federal officials are advising people to wash their hands after touching their dog, handling the animal’s food or cleaning up after them. They warned against letting dogs lick peoples’ mouths, faces or open wounds.
Pet owners should also get a health exam for their dog within days of bringing them home, the CDC said. And anyone who realized their dog is sick soon after purchase or adoption should go to a veterinarian, notify the group they got their pet from and clean places their pet occupied with water and bleach.
Dogs may have fallen ill if they seem lethargic, aren’t eating, have diarrhea or breathe abnormally, the agency said. But animals can also appear healthy and clean while carrying the germs making people sick, it emphasized.
People carry shopping bags Dec. 20 in New York City. A poll shows that while Americans are mostly grateful around the holidays, stress and sadness also accompany festivities.
The illnesses are from Jan. 6 to Nov. 10, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.